At TechStars, 12 teams show that Boulder, CO, can produce fantastic tech

“Boulder is good for engineers — if you’re into innovation in rock climbing technology,” a friend once quipped about the outdoor-loving Colorado college town. But today, 12 startups from TechStars, a Boulder-based incubator, demoed their products in Mountain View, Calif. and did a good job of building on the city’s reputation as a budding center for high-tech. Almost down to a team, each of companies that presented this morning felt strong.

Platforms and developers, part two: What have the new platforms learned from the old ones?

[Editor’s note: Facebook and Apple have each built formative platforms for third-party developers over the last year. They’ve created new opportunities for outside companies to make money — but now rivals are also offering platforms to woo developers. Facebook and Apple are both trying to deliver the best applications available (much like an operating system should), but they’ve both been accused of hampering third-party potential through opaque regulations governing which apps can succeed. Yesterday, in the first article in this three-part series, venture capitalist and entrepreneur Lee Hower discussed the nature of the dilemma facing platform companies. Today, he compares these new platforms versus older ones. Tomorrow, he'll look at ways companies can capitalize on their platform potential.]

Confirmed: Amazon brings its MP3 store to Android. But no video yet

Amazon will have a media store launching on Google’s Android platform, just as VentureBeat first reported yesterday. It will launch on the G1 device which will be available on October 22 through T-Mobile. The over 6 million DRM-free songs from all four major music labels and thousands of Independent ones will be available to buy and download right to the device.

Pandora launches mobile monetization strategy for the iPhone, but the royalty problem still looms

A service like Pandora is able to exist because of advertisements. The free online music discovery service has made headlines over the past year because the government decided to up the royalty rates online music streaming services have to pay when a song is played. Without advertising, the service would be finished. So it should be no surprise that the service’s brilliant iPhone application added advertising today.

Platforms and developers, part one: Facebook, Apple and the cottage industry problem

Editor’s note: Facebook and Apple have each built formative platforms for third-party developers over the last year. They’ve created new opportunities for outside companies to make money — but now rivals are also offering platforms to woo developers. Facebook and Apple are both trying to deliver the best applications available (much like an operating system should), but they’ve both been accused of hampering third-party potential through opaque regulations governing which apps can succeed. In a three-part series we’re publishing this week on VentureBeat, venture capitalist and entrepreneur Lee Hower discusses the nature of the dilemma facing platform companies, evidence for how they’ve already shown themselves to behave, and ways they can capitalize on their platform potential.

AndroidTunes? Amazon launching a mobile music/movie store for Google's platform

We’re a day away from the official announcement of the first phone running Google’s Android mobile platform, T-Mobile’s HTC-built G1. While the phone won’t be out until next month (October 17 remains the date we’re hearing), the device is out there in the wild right now in the hands of select Google and likely T-Mobile employees. In fact, we’ve just received a tip that not only did a G1 make an appearance at a bar in the San Francisco Bay Area over the weekend, but it had a special surprise: An Amazon music and video store application running on it.

How many times can my identity be stolen?

I’m starting to lose track of the number of times my identity (or my family’s) has been stolen, lost, or otherwise defrauded. On Saturday, I received yet another notice that something untoward has happened to my personal information, and I suspect many millions of other consumers got the very same letter in the mail.

Is Latency Crippling Yahoo's Right Media? Yep.

Right Media, an online ad exchange that Yahoo acquired in 2007, is having some serious technical hiccups, sources within the online ad world tell us. This is leading to problems with capacity and latency. Think messaging service Twitter and its formerly-frequent use of the Fail Whale, but instead of not being able to see what everyone is doing for happy hour, people are losing real dollars on real ad investments.

12seconds wants everyone to talk like a pirate; more invites for all

In case you forgot, it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day today — a day when a lot of websites and online networks get into the pirate spirit (check out Google Pirate). Recently launched 12seconds, a video website that limits all video posts to 12 seconds, is taking the opportunity to bring some extra attention to its service, still in private alpha.

NBC content and the web: It just works

When NBC made the decision to pull its television content from Apple’s iTunes store late last year, a lot of users were upset. Ten days ago, Apple announced an agreement with NBC to bring the content back, and since then it’s already sold 1 million shows on the service, according to numbers from Apple. That’s pretty amazing, considering that most of the new fall shows have yet to premier.

The first "I'm a PC" Microsoft ads: Much better

The first post-Seinfeld/Gates Microsoft commercial has just aired. The theme is simple, various people from all walks of life saying “I’m a PC,” and then telling a little bit about who they are. It’s a direct challenge to Apple’s “Mac vs. PC” ads, but doesn’t try to emulate it directly except in the opening — which is smart.

After months in hibernation, Twitter redesign finally goes live

We first caught a glimpse of the Twitter redesign in mid-July, when apparently an overzealous employee of the micro-messaging service jumped the gun on the roll out. Seeing its shadow, the redesign went back into hibernation for another couple months. Now it’s ready, and looking good, but really not all that different. Instead, Twitter focused on subtle changes to the site we all know and love (are addicted to).

New FriendFeed leaves beta, and one more thing: Dupe detection!

FriendFeed, the social content aggregation site has moved some of the new beta features it was working on to the main version of the site today. On the main site you’ll now find friend lists, photo posting, quick navigation, the ability to see other’s feeds as they see them and an updated UI. We detailed all the changes in a post last month.

Q&A: Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon on Second Life's latest evolution

Virtual worlds are in fashion now, drawing investments of $184 million in 23 worlds in the first quarter. But the original player here is Linden Lab, which launched Second Life in 2002. Mark Kingdon came aboard as chief executive of Linden Lab in May, replacing longtime CEO and founder Philip Rosedale, who remains chairman. More than 15.1 million registered users have tried out the virtual world. Kingdon was formerly the CEO of online creative/marketing agency Organic. Today, Linden Lab announced Direct SLurl, a way to get into Second Life from the web. We chatted with Kingdon about the state of Second Life and the virtual world industry.

Yahoo: The ultimate music search engine — for four artist tracks and 25 playbacks at least

The best features for any product tend to be the ones that work exactly how you think they should. You can add Yahoo’s newly revamped music artist shortcuts in its search results to that list — sort of. Simply do a Yahoo search for an artist and a card will show up along the top of the results page with the artists’ site, links to albums, lyrics, etc. That’s all nice, if old. But the new cool feature is that you can listen to entire songs right from the results page for free.

Yahoo testing new home page for faster access

Yahoo is testing new versions of its main page to a small group of users starting tomorrow, Kara Swisher reports on AllThingsD. The move is fraught with risks, as 82 million visitors hit the company’s main page every day. After its brand-bruising battle with Microsoft, the company has to get it right.

Big in Japan wins the Android Challenge, raises money and has big plans for Google Android development

When entrepreneur Alexander Muse kept running into developers Rylan Barnes and Jason Hudgins over the course of several weeks in Texas, Muse knew he had to work with them. It was a smart move. The trio set up Big in Japan, an application house that focuses on mobile platforms, and by the conclusion of Google’s first Android Developer Challenge, the team had a hand in creating two of the top ten winners.

Amazon makes a stronger (but kind of weak) push as a television content hub

Online retailer Amazon has been making a hard push to cement itself in the digital-content-over-the-Internet market recently. It launched its Amazon Video On Demand service (an update of its Unbox service) a few weeks ago, and earlier this week made its Internet Movie Database (IMDb) website more video-centric. Today, it has launched a new section of the main Amazon site dedicated to fans of select television shows.

iPhone apps like Whrrl preview the power of location, but there is far greater potential

With a global positioning system (GPS) chip now in the iPhone 3G, location services are becoming important to many mobile application developers. Each day, we’re seeing new iPhone apps launch which, if they’re not centered around location, rely heavily on it for core functions. But because Apple will not allow any applications to run in the background, it is hampering much of what location-based services (LBS) can do, as Brady Forrest rightly argued on O’Reilly Radar a couple days ago. Manual location updates are fine, but real-time updates regardless of if you’re using your phone or not, are the future.

Roundup: Green chemicals get started, gaming is ubiquitous, MySpace Music slowed again, and more

Genomatica creates renewable chemical from sugar water — While most chemicals are petroleum-based, several startups are trying to create new alternatives. One of the first to succeed is Genomatica, which says it has a cheap process to make 1,4-butanediol, a component chemical of many common materials, from sugar and water, potentially disrupting a $4 billion industry. More on Genomatica’s process here.

Chad Hurley's 2018: Video wristwatches for all

As part of its tenth anniversary, Google is asking experts to weigh in on where they think different aspects of tech will be in the next ten years. Chad Hurley, YouTube’s chief executive and cofounder, laid out his thoughts for the next decade of online video on the Google blog today.

Robotgalaxy raises $5M to launch virtual world

Robotgalaxy, a retailer that lets kids build toy robots, is developing a virtual world where players can take those robots on science fiction adventures. The New York-based company has raised a second funding round of more than $5 million to launch the game, as well as for other expansion.

Guest editorial: Consumer engagement that matters

An increasing number of entrepreneurs have been asking me what I think of the prospects for consumer Internet startups. Strategic purchases of companies seem to be slowing; advertising spending might be flat next year; and growth on the large social network platforms is getting harder. What’s a startup to do?